The spam problem has been the bane of openly available “web 2.0” sites since, well, forever. Everyone universally hates spam. Everyone, universally, wants to see it go away. Why is it still a problem?
Wait. Not everyone wants it to go away. There are two groups of people who benefit from spam.
Of course spammers won’t stop – they have a money factory running, and are locked in an arms race against the global online community in an effort to game ever larger lumps of cash from Google.
Google says they want it to stop. They came up with a wonderful solution that would have stopped spam in its tracks – the only downside was that the solution would have destroyed the network effects of the web by negating links. Baby? Meet bathwater. Meet half-assed “solution” that lets Google say “hey! we tried! Really we did!”
But, why did Google stop at a half-assed solution? Why not go fully-assed? Because they benefit from spam. Every time some moron stupidly clicks on a spam factory’s Google ads, Google gets a cut, and they happily send cash to the spammer.
The evil spam roaches inflict their spam on the various “web 2.0” resources – anything that has an open form intended to foster dialogue and conversation – this spam gets indexed by Google, who then send the roaches a cut of all proceeds from the ads on those spam factory websites.
Anyone else see a conflict of interest here?
There is an easy solution.
Google: to stop the spam, you have to stop paying the spammers.
How to do that? Well, I’m not a multi-bajillion-dollar company stuffed to the rafters with PhDs or anything, but how about this for a start:
If someone reports a website as a spam factory, their adsense revenue goes into an escrow-like state until it can be shown to NOT be spam. They don’t lose any money if they’re legit, but they have the opportunity to lose their revenue if they are shown to be evil spam roaches. What to do with the revenue seized from verified spam factory adsense accounts? Google can’t keep it – it just maintains the conflict of interest. They should donate it all to the EFF or something similar.